Construction workers stage mass strike

Construction workers demonstrating in Geneva on Friday Keystone

Demanding improved working conditions, thousands of Swiss construction workers downed tools across the country on Friday.

This content was published on November 25, 2011 - 20:20 and agencies

Union officials said that around 7,000 people all over Switzerland, including in Geneva, Lausanne, the capital Bern and Zurich had joined the strike.

Negotiations between Swiss Contractors Association and workers for a new national labour agreement broke down earlier this month after nine months of deliberations. The current agreement is due to expire on January 1.  
Unions are calling for a new agreement with increased protection against wage dumping and in the case of illness, accident and bad weather.
Contractors prefer to extend the existing agreement and have offered a salary increase of 1.5 per cent and improved conditions, which converts to a net salary increase of 0.75 per cent.

In a statement on Friday, the Swiss Contractors Association criticised the walkout as going against the industrial peace, saying the strike had been “a provocation by Unia people”.  

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